Literacy Brokers and the Emotional Work of Mediation


  • Ligia Ana Mihut University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



literacy/language broker, transnational literacy, affinity, emotional work


Literacy brokers—defined as people who assist others with reading and writing—have gained increasing attention in Literacy and Composition Studies (for example, Jerskey; Lillis and Curry; Lunsford). Yet their analytical richness has been marginally examined or subsumed under already established terms such as sponsors of literacy. This essay seeks to reclaim the significance of literacy brokers in doing critical emotional work through what I call literacy as affinity. In this ethnographic study of transnational literacies of Romanian immigrants, I show that as literacy brokers move across contexts, they accumulate knowledge and develop a bi-institutional perspective. In doing so, these brokers serve more than instrumental ends; they perform literacy as affinity by brokering personal experiences and languages of nation-states and by participating in advocacy for the sake of others.

Author Biography

Ligia Ana Mihut, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ligia Ana Mihut is a Ph.D. candidate in English, specializing in Writing Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include (im)migrant literacy, intercultural rhetorics, and writing for social justice. Ligia is currently a fellow in the Cultures of Law in Global Contexts (CLGC) program, an interdisciplinary initiative whose goal is to establish cross-disciplinary dialogs between Humanities, Law, and Economics.




How to Cite

Mihut, L. A. (2014). Literacy Brokers and the Emotional Work of Mediation. Literacy in Composition Studies, 2(1), 57–79.